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Full text of "Greek gods and heroes as represented in the classical collections of the Museum : a handbook for high school students"

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This handbook is intended for high-school students of 
literature who have occasion to become familiar with the 
Greek gods and heroes. To the student of Virgil or of 
Milton these gods may remain merely names, or they 
may be associated with illustrations in books; fortunately 
Boston possesses original works of Greek art which repre- 
sent them as they were conceived by the Greeks them- 
selves, and the present book directs attention to the 
original Greek representation of each god or hero which 
may be seen there. It will entirely fail of its purpose un- 
less it brings the student face to face with the objects in 
the Museum illustrated in it. In so far as this purpose is 
fulfilled, the student may come to realize the personality 
of these beings of Greek imagination through the arts of 
sculpture and painting as well as through the art of litera- 
ture. In a word, the student may see the imaginative 
being about whom he is reading, as the Greeks them- 
selves saw it. To this purpose the brief descriptions of 
the gods and heroes are subordinated. 

The objects illustrated and the quotations from Greek 
and Latin authors were selected by a committee of high- 
school teachers appointed by the Boston Council of 


Ancient Language Teachers, namely, Miss Caroline 
W. Trask, chairman; Miss Persis P. Drake; Messrs. 
Henry C. Jones, Herbert T. Rich, and William H. 

In preparing the text, also, I have benefited by the 
suggestions and criticisms of this Committee. 

Arthur Fairbanks. 





I. Prehistoric Art of Greece, 3000-1000 b.c. .... 2 

II. Archaic Greek Art, 1000-500 b.c. ..... 2 

III. The Fifth Century, 500-400 b.c. ..... 3 

IV. The Fourth Century, 400-300 b.c. ..... 5 

V. The Hellenistic Period, 300-100 b.c. ..... 6 

VI. Gr^co-Roman Art, 100 b.c.-zog a.d. ..... 6 










SCYLLA . 29 



PINA) 33 







JANUS ........... 44 

10 ; DANAE; PERSEUS ; MEDUSA .... 45 











From objects in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 

1. Gold and ivory statuette from Crete, about 1600 B.C. . 2 

2. Marble portrait of a youth, Roman copy of a Greek work 

in the style of Scopas 5 

3. Portrait of Arsinoe II (?); bronze, about 300 B.C. . 6 

4. Roman portrait head; terra-cotta, first century B.C. . 7 

5. Head of Zeus; marble, fourth-century copy from the Zeus 

of Pheidias 14 

6. Coin of Elis, about 400 B.C. ; head of Zeus, eagle of Zeus . 1 5 

7. Coin of Elis, fourth century B.C.; head of Hera, eagle . 16 

8. Bronze statuette of Athena; Grccco-Roman . . .17 

9. Black-figured amphora, sixth century B.C.; birth of Athena 18 

10. Coin of Athens, fifth century B.C.; head of Athena, owl 19 

11. Late red-figured krater made in Italy; Athena and Mar- 

syas 19 

12. Pyxis or toilet box, fifth century B.C.; Apollo and the 

Muses 21 

13. Red-figured oinochoe or pitcher; Apollo and Artemis . 22 

14. Head of Artemis; marble, fifth century B.C. . . -23 

15. Cybele; Colossal marble statue, about 300 B.C. . . 25 

16. Terra-cotta figurine from Asia Minor, late third century 

B.C.; Cybele riding on a lion 26 

17. Coin of Poseidonia, sixth century B.C. Poseidon with 

trident . . . • 27 

18. Small bronze statuette of Poseidon; Roman period . . 2S 



19. Gold seal ring, Athens, fifth century B.C.; Nereid on a sea 

20. Late vase made in Italy; Scylla .... 

21. Coin of Rhodes, fourth century B.C.; head of Helios, rose 

22. Arretine pottery mould; Death of Phaethon . 

23. Roman cameo; Aurora driving a biga 

24. Votive mask of terra-cotta, late fifth century B.C.; bust of 

Demeter ........ 

25. Coin of Delphi, fourth century B.C.; Demeter veiled and 

with wreath of grain, Apollo seated on omphalus . 

26. Red-figured vase; Persephone rising from the ground 

27. Coin of Naxos in Sicily, fifth century B.C. ; head of Diony 

sus, Satyr drinking ...... 

28. Bronze statuette, sixth century B.C.; Hermes with ram 

29. Graeco-Roman marble: Hermes (type of fourth century 

30. Intaglio gem, Hellenistic period; Hermes with lyre . 

31. Bronze and iron caduceus 

32. Bronze mirror handle, about 500 B.C.; Aphrodite and 

xL/roLes ......... 

2,:^. Plastic lekythos, fourth century B.C.; birth of Aphrodite 

34. Marble head of Aphrodite, fourth century B.C. . 

35. Terra-cotta figurines from Myrina, second century b.c 

Erotes or Cupids ....... 

36. Graeco-Roman cameo; wedding of Cupid and Psyche 

37. Roman terra-cotta lamp; head of Janus . 

38. Red-figured vase painting, from a hydria; Hermes about 

to slay Argus ....... 

39. Red-figured hydria, early fifth century B.C.; carpenter 

preparing the chest for Danae and Perseus 


40. Black cup with stamped figures, fourth century B.C.; 

Perseus and Medusa ....... 47 

41. Bronze handle, sixth century B.C.; head of Medusa . 48 

42. Proto-Corinthian vase, seventh century B.C.; Bellerophon 

attacking the Chimaera ...... 40 

43. Black-figured amphora, sixth century B.C.; Europa on the 

bull .......... 50 

44. Coin of Cnossos in Crete, fourth century B.C.; head of 

Hera, labyrinth 51 

45. Red-figured krater, about 450 B.C.; death of Actaeon . 52 

46. Red-figured amphora; CEdipus and the Sphinx . . 53 

47. Bronze mirror case, Greek, fourth century B.C.; Caly- 

donian boar hunt 54 

48. Coin of Byzantium, fourth century B.C. ; infant Heracles 

strangling serpents, bull on dolphin . . . -56 

49. Black-figured amphora; Heracles strangHng the Nemean 

lion, lolaus, and Athena . . . . . -57 

50. Section of frieze from 'the temple at Assos, sixth century 

B.C.; Heracles shooting an arrow at the flying Centaurs 57 

51. Black and red-figured amphora, about 500 B.C.; Heracles 

and the Cretan bull ....... 58 

52. Early black-figured amphora; battle of Heracles with the 

Amazons ......... 58 

53. Small archaic Greek bronze; Heracles shooting an arrow . 59 

54. Red-figured plate ; youthful Heracles dragging Cerberus, 

attended by Hermes 60 

55. Black-figured hydria; Heracles and the Triton . . .61 

56. Marble statuette of Heracles; Roman copy of a bronze by 

Myron (?) 61 

57. Terra-cotta figure, southern Italy, second century B.C.; 

Heracles reclining on his lion skin . . . .62 


$^. Scene on the shoulder of a black-figured hydria; Theseus 

slaying the Minotaur 63 

S^a. Red-figured vase painting, late fifth century; Theseus 

abandoning Ariadne -63 

59. Red-figured kyhx signed by Aristophanes, late fifth cen- 

tury B.C. ; Theseus defending a Lapith woman attacked 

by a Centaur ........ 64 

60. R.ed-figured lekythos, about 450 B.C.; Theseus and two 

companions in conflict with Hippolyte on horseback and 

a second Amazon on foot ...... 05 

61. Fragment of marble sculpture, early fourth century B.C.; 

Amazon on horseback 66 

62. Scene from red-figured bowl (skyphos), about 460 B.C.; ab- 

duction of Helen ........ 67 

63. Red-figured krater, about 450 B.C.; ^Eneas and Diomedes 67 

64. Black-figured lekythos; Achilles, Athena, and Ajax . . 69 

65. Apulian red-figured amphora, fourth century B.C.; visit 

of Phoenix to Achilles 70 

66. Red-figured amphora, about 450 B.C.; Hephaestus and 

Thetis . . . . . . . . -71 

67. Red-figured kylix, about 450 B.C.; Hector and Achilles 

before Troy 72 

68. Etruscan bronze mirror, third century B.C. ; suicide of Ajax 73 

69. Marble relief, late Greek work; death of Priam . -75 

70. Scene from red-figured bowl, about 460 B.C.; Menelaus re- 

covers Helen ........ 75 

71. Red-figured toilet box (cover), second half fifth century 

B.C.; Odysseus meeting Nausicaa . . . . • 76 

72. Black-figured kylix, early sixth century B.C.; Odysseus 

and Circe ......... 77 

73. Marble head of Homer . . . . . . -79 



Marvellous as are the remains of Greek and Roman 
art to-day, they give us but faint glimmerings of its 
original glory. Marble statues and reliefs, the greatest 
achievements of sculpture ever made, have been muti- 
lated by barbarian hands and for the most part burned 
in kilns for lime. Bronze statues and utensils have been 
melted for the metal they contain, or have crumbled un- 
der the action of the atmosphere. Objects of terra-cotta 
have been ruthlessly broken in pieces; gold jewellery has 
been used for buUion; and other objects of the minor arts 
have largely been destroyed or lost. Largely because 
they were placed in graves and were not destroyed by 
atmospheric influence, terra-cotta figures and vases re- 
main to us in rather large numbers; and buried hoards of 
coins not infrequently come to light. But Greek painting 
we only know in late examples like those found at Pom- 
peii and in such minor work as the scenes on painted 
vases. Of original Greek sculpture by a great master 
only the Hermes of Praxiteles is left, and that is not com- 
plete. The statues that adorned the temples and public 
buildings of Greece in countless numbers have disap- 
peared. Yet, though our knowledge of Greek sculpture 
is based on late copies and on a few works by less gifted 
men, these are sufficient to kindle the deepest admiration 
of later ages. 



In general Greek and Roman art may be considered in 
six periods : — 

I. Prehistoric Art of Greece, 3000-1000 B.C. It is less 
than forty years since excavations at Mycenae first 

revealed an art hitherto unknown, 
which is still often called '' Myce- 
naean." The civihzation which pro- 
duced it probably centred originally 
in the island of Crete, whose power 
and wealth are echoed in the tradi- 
tions of Minos, King of Cnossos. At 
its best the art of this people shows 
an admirable skill in decorative de- 
sign and a free style approaching 
naturalism ; the phenomena of nature 
and even of human life are repre- 
sented vividly and freshly. In the 
Cast Court a case of electrotype re- 
productions gives some idea of the 
wonderful decorated work in metal 
from this epoch ; the Museum also ex- 
hibits a, few of the engraved seal stones, a series of stone 
and pottery vases, and a small ivory figure of a god- 

II. Archaic Greek Art, 1000-500 B.C. Social and po- 
litical changes, which accompanied the shiftmg of popu- 
lation in Greece about 1000 B.C., prepared the way for 

I. Gold and ivory sta- 
tuette from Crete, 
about 1600 B.C.; 
snake goddess 


the development of the historic Greek people and Greek 
art properly so-called. The early development of this art 
is illustrated by the painted pottery vases. The earlier 
t\'pe has rather heavy shapes and the decoration consists 
of geometrical designs, in which rudely drawn men and 
animals are sometimes introduced. In the eighth and 
seventh centuries the vases of Rhodes and Corinth, 
with their rows of animals real and fantastic and their 
abundant use of rosettes, spirals, etc., illustrate the 
strong influence of Eastern art. In the sixth century 
Athens became the centre of the potter's art. In the 
Attic black-figured ware the shapes were refined, the 
conventional decorative ornament was confined to defi- 
nite limits, and the interest of the vases was much in- 
creased by the use of scenes of human interest. At this 
time, in the sixth century B.C., the characteristic human- 
ism of Greek art is already manifest in the sculptor's 
effort to reproduce the human figure in bronze and 
marble, though sculpture was mainly limited to works 
of a religious nature — statues of gods, ideal statues of 
athletes commemorating victories in religious games, 
and other sculptures dedicated to the gods. In the 
Archaic room are exhibited the limestone statue of a 
man, and several bronze statuettes; these illustrate the 
limitations of sculpture in this epoch, and its singular 

III. The Fifth Century, 500-400 B.C. During the years 
in which the -^reek states were rising to their highest 
political power, the technical progress of the arts con- 


tinued, and the conventions of the archaic period gradu- 
ally gave way to a free style. In the pottery of Athens 
the colors were reversed; the figures were left in the red 
color of the clay and the background filled in with solid 
black; further, mythological scenes became less frequent 
than scenes taken from daily life. The influence of the 
painting of Polygnotus may be clearly seen on certain 
vases after the middle of the century. The strivings to 
express the human figure freely in bronze and marble in 
the earlier part of the century culminated in the noble 
sculptures of the latter part, which embodied so per- 
fectly the Hellenic ideal of proportion, sanity, and self- 
command. Sculpture still served a civic and a religious 
end, in that the statues and reliefs represented either the 
gods and stories of the gods or victorious athletes or dead 
persons (grave monuments). The three great sculptors 
of this epoch were Myron, Polycleitus, and Pheidias. 
The work of Myron is represented in the Museum by a 
cast of the well-known Discobolus and by an excellent 
Roman copy in marble of a bronze statuette of Heracles 
(see p. 6i). A fine head in the style of Polycleitus and 
the cast of his Spear-bearer (Doryphorus) show the im- 
personal, ideal manner in which this artist worked. And 
some conception of the greatness of Pheidias may be 
gained from the casts of the Parthenon sculpture, and 
from the fourth-century copy in marble of the head of 
his Olympian Zeus (see p. 14). Artistic objects of minor 
importance, such as coins, gems, jewellery, and utensils, 
illustrate the same Greek ideals of proportion and adap- 


tation of means to ends and the effort to make each ob- 
ject perfect in its own way. 

IV. The Fourth Century, 400-300 B.C. With the decay 
of pohtical power and the waning influence of state re- 
Hgion in this age, individual- 
ism came to dominate Greek 
thought and action. The 
glory or the riches or the 
pleasure a man could attain 
for himself was the motive 
of life, rather than the glory 
and the power of the state 
he might serve. Sculpture 
showed the influence of this 
change in the attention paid 
to individual portraiture, in 
the effort to produce charm- 
ing objects rather than to 
embody great ideas, and in 
the expression of individual 
emotion even in statues of 
the gods. The grace of Prax- 
iteles may be seen in the cast of his Hermes, in the mar- 
ble head of Aphrodite (see p. 41), and in the terra-cotta 
figurines which show the influence of his work; in con- 
trast with this spirit a marble head of a youth gives some 
idea of the fire and intensity that marked the work of 
Scopas. Potters produced richly decorated vases with 
little artistic feeling, though painted vases were for the 

2. Marble portrait of a youth, Ro- 
man copy of a Greek work in 
the style of Scopas 


most part made in Italy rather than in Athens. The 
spirit of the age was finely expressed in decorative ob- 
jects of the minor arts. 

V. The Hellenistic Period, 300-100 B.C. The reign of 
Alexander the Great marks the beginning of a period 

when artists of 
great technical skill 
lacked the creative 
impulse to produce 
great works of art. 
Noble portraits, 
however, were pro- 
duced in bronze 
and marble; an- 
cient myths, no 
longer believed, 
wxre treated in a 
dramatic and pic- 
turesque style; 
and genre scenes 
and types were 
expressed with 
wonderful charm. 
More and more, objects of art served to glorify the in- 
dividual, or to beautify his home. 

VI. GrcEco-Roman Art, 100 B.C. to 200 a.d. When 
Rome conquered the Mediterranean world, and the 
practical Roman mind dominated its civilization, an in- 
dependent Greek art could no longer exist. The tech- 

j. Portrait of Arsinoe II {?); bronze, about 
300 B.C. 


nical skill which had been acquired, however, served to 
produce fine portraits and good examples of decoration. 

4. Roman portrait head; tcrra-cotta, first century B.C. 

Countless statues from plundered Greek cities were 
brought to Italy to decorate Roman palaces and villas; 
but the demand so far exceeded the supply that famous 
statues of the fifth and fourth centuries were reproduced 


in great numbers in a more or less mechanical manner. 
The '^archaistic'' sculpture of this epoch further exem- 
plifies the absence of original inspiration. 


Greek painted vases were distinctly objects of a minor 
art, hardly regarded in ancient Greece as objects of art 
at all unless, perhaps, for a brief period in the early part 
of the fifth century B.C. For the history of Greek art 
they necessarily receive much attention to-day, first, 
because their preservation is such as to furnish a remark- 
able historic record of the development of this art from 
earliest times, and secondly, because they are almost the 
only contemporary record of Greek painting. Further, 
they serve in a peculiar way to make Greek myths and 
Greek daily life real to us, through the scenes used in 
their decoration. They are sufficiently foreign to the 
student to-day to make desirable some account of their 
technique and of the commoner forms. 

The manufacture of finer Greek vases was limited to 
places where suitable clay was found. The first step was 
to wash the clay free from impurities and knead it into a 
homogeneous mass. A small piece of this clay was then 
shaped on the potter's wheel, which was usually turned 
by hand, until the form of the body of the vase was de- 
veloped. Most Greek vases were made of several pieces 
shaped independently on the wheel, — body, foot, per- 
haps neck, and mouth, — and these were put ^^^ogether 
and handles shaped in a mould were attached, before the 


clay was allowed to dry. The clay of Athenian vases had 
a certain amount of iron oxide, and often more was 
added to produce a rich terra-cotta red when the vase 
was fired. When the vase was complete, it was dried and 
possibly subjected to heat, before it was turned over to 
the decorator. He appHed the black glaze which served 
as the main or only decoration; the outlines of the deco- 
ration and the figures were first drawn with a fine feather 
grasped by all the fingers (not by the thumb and fore- 
finger alone), and later the parts that were to be sohd 
black were filled in with glaze. The vase was then fired 
at a heat sufficient to bake the clay and fuse the glaze on 
to it. Other colors, enamel white, dull purple, etc., were 
sometimes added later. 

Most of the vases interesting for their scene are of 
the black-figured or red-figured Athenian ware. On the 
black-figured vases, as the name implies, the figures were 
painted in black glaze and the background of the scene 
was left in the red of the clay. After the vase had been 
fired, details of the figures (garment lines and decoration, 
hair, eyes, etc.) were added in fine incised lines with a 
sharp instrument which cut through the glaze. Often 
dull purple and white were used to decorate the garments, 
and the flesh of women was painted white with details of 
the eye, etc., added in thin glaze. These vases were for 
the most part made at Athens in the sixth century b.c. 

On the red-figured vases the figures of the scene and 
often th-^ decoration were left in the red of the clay, 
while the background was entirely filled in with black 


glaze. Details of the garments and figures were added 
in fine lines either of black glaze or of thin yellow glaze; 
colors were not used on these vases in the finest period, 
namely the fifth century B.C. at Athens. 

On a few vases, at Athens mainly in the fifth century 
B.C., the space to be occupied by the scene was covered 
with a thin wash or slip of chalky white as a foundation 
for the scene. The scene was then painted in outlines of 
black glaze, or thin yellow glaze, or later in a dull color. 
On these vases solid color, often several colors, were later 
applied for garments and accessories. 

Some of the shapes of Greek vases, such as the plate 
and the pitcher, are not unfamiliar to-day. Of the pecul- 
iar shapes the following are the most important : — 

1. The amphora, a high jar with two handles and 
cover, designed for storing wine or oil. 

2. The krater, or mixing-bowl, a large jar with spread- 
ing mouth and small handles, designed for mixing wine 
with water, for the Greeks rarely drank wine undiluted. 

3. The kylix, a flat drinking- vessel with slender foot 
and spreading handles. The finest examples of Greek 
painted vases are of this shape. 

4. The lekythos, a small vase with slender neck and 
one handle, used for unguents and perfumes, 


The use of terra-cotta for small figures and for archi- 
tectural decorations, as well as for certain utensils, was 
not limited to any one age. After the clay had been 


properly kneaded, in early times it was shaped by hand; 
later it was pressed into a mould, and on the object thus 
obtained details were added or modilied or defined at the 
will of the maker. The object was then baked, and finally 
colors were applied to the surface. The most interesting 
terra-cottas which remain to us are the figurines, rude, 
small figures probably representing gods from the later 
pre-historic period, groups of single figures in the occupa- 
tions of daily life from the beginning of the fifth century, 
and the wonderfully graceful figurines from the graves of 
Tanagra, Asia Minor, and southern Italy, which date 
from the third and second centuries B.C. The latter, 
which ordinarily are genre types, are perhaps the most 
charming examples of Greek art which exist to-day. A 
few moulds which have been discovered make it clear 
that only the general type was obtained by the use of 
a mould; the gesture of the arms and the objects in the 
hands were modified by the maker, details were defined 
in the garments, hair, etc., and the face was remodelled 
as the artist might choose. With the variety in the ap- 
plied colors the figures from the same mould were often 
quite different, and instead of mechanical reproduction 
we have a mechanical process used merely as the start- 
ing-point for the production of true objects of art. 

The relief designs on Roman lamps, and the large 
reliefs made in southern Italy for decorative purposes, 
are probably mechanical reproductions; they are of in- 
terest mainly as showing the skill of the artist who made 
the mould used in their manufacture. 


Because of its cheapness, utensils of daily use were 
often made of pottery instead of metal. On the painted 
pottery vases the influence of metal types is sometimes 
clear, but it is most evident in the case of utensils with 
decoration in relief. The so-called bucchero ware is a 
group of vases made on the potter's wheel, to which are 
applied relief ornaments made in a mould; the whole 
vase is then colored black to represent metal. A finer 
type of workmanship is found in the Arretine ware which 
receives its name from Arretium in Italy (cf. p. 32). 
Hellenistic silver bowls, finely decorated with figures and 
ornaments in relief, were probably the originals which 
were reproduced by means of moulds in this red glazed 
pottery. The examples of it are thus interesting both in 
themselves for their very graceful decoration, and also 
for the evidence they furnish of the skill of Hellenistic or 
Graeco-Roman silversmiths. 


Note: The order of discussion in the following pages 
is the same as in the author's '' Mythology of Greece and 
Rome" (New York, 1907); namely: the greater gods 
(Zeus, Hera, Athena, Apollo, and Artemis) ; gods of earth, 
water, and sky; gods of vegetable and animal Hfe; gods 
of human life and human activities; local heroes; Hera- 
cles and Theseus; heroes of the Trojan War. 


O qui res hominumque deumque 
aeternis regis imperiis et fulmine terres. 

Virg. ^n. I, 229-30. 

O thou who rulest the fortunes both of man and of the gods with un- 
ending sway and terriliest with thy thunderbolt. 

In Greek religion and in Greek mythology Zeus was 
conceived as king and as father. As king he was all- 
powerful, leading the gods to victory over the Titans 
and the Giants, and able to withstand all the gods, should 
they unite against him (IHad, viii, 20/.). As "father of 
gods and men," to use the Homeric formula (cf. Virg. 
/En. I, 254), his just rule was tempered with mercy and 
benignant care for his subjects. In Greek religion em- 
phasis was laid on his function as god of the heavens in 
sending rain and causing the crops to grow. Greek myth 
developed his character as like that of a human king who 


was often swayed by impulse, especially in yielding to 
the charms of beautiful women. ^ 

For the temple of Zeus at Olympia, the great centre of 
Zeus worship in Greece, Pheidias made his most cele- 

5. Head of Zeus; marble, fourth-century copy from the 
Zeus of Pheidias 

brated work, a colossal statue of Olympian Zeus. As it 
was made of gold and ivory, plates of gold for the gar- 
ments and plates of ivory for the flesh parts, it was as 
splendid as it was perishable. Our knowledge of it is de- 



rived from coins on which it was represented, and from 
the marble copy in this museum reproduced above — 
both from the fourth century, the century after the 
statue was made by Pheidias. 

The story has come down to us that Pheidias, when 
asked how he would portray the god, replied by quoting 
the lines of Homer (Iliad, i, 527/.): ^'Kronion spake and 
bowed his dark brow, and the ambrosial locks waved 
from the king's immortal head; and he made great 
Olympus quake." In other words, he intended to por- 

6. Coin of Elis, about 400 B.C. ; head of Zeus, eagle of Zeus 

tray the majesty and pov/er of the god. A late rhetori- 
cian (Dio Chrysostom) describes the influence of the 
statue in the following words: "Whoever is utterly weary 
in heart, having exhausted all the calamities and griefs 
of life so that sweet sleep is never his portion, forgets all 
that is dreadful or burdensome in human life when he 
stands before this statue . . . such light and such sweet- 
ness come from the statue of the god." In the extant 
reproductions of this statue, both the power of the god 
and his benignant mercy are represented. 




Ast ego, quae divom incedo regina, Jovisque 

et soror et conjunx, una cum gente tot annos 

bella gero. Virg. JEn. i, 46-48. 

But I, whose position is queen of the gods, both sister and wife of Jove, 
wage war with one race all these years. 

Hera was worshipped as the goddess of marriage and 
the special patron of wife and mother. In mythology 
her position as queen of the gods and wife of Zeus is the 
starting-point for many stories, which concern now her 

7. Coin of Elis, fourth century B.C. ; head of Hera, eagle 

bickerings with her husband, now her jealousy of his 
amours, now her interest to help or more commonly to 
hinder his purposes in the government of the world. The 
most celebrated statue of Hera was that made of gold 
and ivory by Polycleitus for her temple at Argos. 




lam summas arces Tritonia (respicc) Pallas 
insedit, limbo effulgens et Gorgone soeva. 

Virg. .En. II, 615-16. 

Look, already hath Tritonian Pallas, with gleaming girdle and Gor- 
gon grim, taken her post on the heights of the citadel. 

Athena, who sprang 
full-armed from the head 
of Zeus (Homeric Hymn, 
XXVIII ; Milton, Paradise 
Lost, II, 752/.), represents 
two of the attributes of 
Zeus, his wisdom, and his 
power as manifested in 
battle. As goddess of 
wisdom she presided over 
handicrafts, especially 
weaving; as born in full 
panoply, she was the god- 
dess of warfare. The 
patron goddess of Athens, 
she guided the counsels 
of the city, defended it 
against its enemies, and 
brought it prosperity. 

The statuette figured 
here, which should be 
supplemented by the 
spear originally held in 

8. Bronze statuette of Athena; 



the left hand, represents her as wearing the aegis (a cape 
with the Gorgon's head) which stood for protection to 
her favorites and terror to her enemies. It has been 
conjectured that this small bronze is a copy of the 
colossal bronze statue of Athena Promachos (Athena 
who fights in front of the army) which Pheidias made to 
stand on the acropolis of Athens. 

In the stiff, literal manner of the sixth-century vase 

p. Black-figured amphora, sixth century B.C. ; birth 

of Athena 



painter the above scene from a black-ligured vase repre- 
sents the story of the birth of Athena from the head of 

10. Coin of Athens , fifth century B.C.; head of Athena, oivl 

Zeus. The minute figure of the goddess with shield 
and spear still rests on the head of the seated Zeus; 

II. Late red-figured krater made in Italy ; Athena and Marsyas 


behind him is Apollo playing the lyre, and at the left is 
Hermes; in front of Zeus is a woman with flesh parts 
painted white and an armed warrior, perhaps the god- 
dess of child-birth and Ares, god of war. 

The invention of the double flute is attributed to Mar- 
syas, a satyr of Lydia. With the name of Marsyas are 
associated two legends, the story of his presumption in 
daring to match his music with Apollo's and its horrid 
penalty, and the story of Athena's experiment with the 
new musical instrument. The carelessly drawn scene in 
the vase (Fig. ii) represents the latter story. Athena is 
blowing the flute, while Marsyas holds up a mirror to 
show how the effort distorts her face, and other satyrs are 
present to see her throw away the instrument in dis- 

A cast of the so-called Lemnian Athena (head in Bologna, 
body in Dresden) gives a clear idea of Pheidias' method 
of representing the goddess. A cast of the "Varvakeion 
Athena," a rude small copy of the gold and ivory Athena 
of the Parthenon, is also in the Court of Casts. 


Exercet Diana chores, quam mille secutae 

hinc atque hinc glomerantur oreades; ilia pharetram 

fert umero gradiensque deas supereminet omnis. 

Virg. .En. i, 499-501. 

Diana leads her dancing bands, and following her a thousand moun- 
tain-nymphs cluster on this side and that. She wears a quiver on her 
shoulder, and as she walks towers above all the goddesses. 

Apollo, in later times associated with the sun, was the 
god of purity and light, and the god of inspiration. As 



the god of light ,^ the patron of youth, and the protector 

of flocks, he was often 
represented with the 
bow and arrow as an 
archer. As the god 
of inspiration he was 
the patron of proph- 
ets and oracles, es- 
pecially the oracle at 
Delphi, and the pa- 
tron of music who 
led the choir of the 
Muses. In sculpture 
he was represented 
as a youth in the 
prime of his power. 

On the toilet box 
(Fig. 12) he sits hold- 
ing the lyre, attended 
by six Muses with 
musical instruments, 
of which only two are 
shown. The scene is 
drawn in outline on a 
white ground, a tech- 
nique not common 
except for lekythoi. 
Apollo and Artemis were both children of Leto. Arte- 
mis represented the ideal of young womanhood as Apollo 

13. Red-figured oinochoe or pitcher; Apollo 
and Artemis 


of young manhood, and later Artemis was associated 
with the moon as Apollo was associated with the sun. 
Artemis was also a huntress with bow and arrow; in 
this aspect she was the leader of the nymphs and like 
them closely associated with wild life in nature. On the 
somewhat rudely painted vase (Fig. 13) Apollo with 

14. Head of Artemis; marble, fifth 
century B.C. 

quiver and lyre stands between a column (which stands 
for a temple) and an altar, while Artemis with bow and 
quiver stands opposite him, pouring a libation on the 
altar. Apparently the act of worship was idealized by 
representing the gods as engaged in worship. 


This head (Fig. 14) adorned with a simple wreath of 
flowers probably represents Artemis, one of whose attrib- 
utes was a garland of flowers. The head is poised well 
forward, giving an expression of alertness; the vivacity 
of expression was doubtless increased by the eyes, which 
were of another material. We may think of it as belong- 
ing to a statue of Artemis, the huntress, with bow and 

The "Apollo Belvedere" in the Vatican, the "Artemis of 
Versailles" and the "Artemis from Gabii" in the Louvre 
are represented by casts on the large court. 


Hinc mater cultrix Cybeli Corybantiaque aera 
Idseumque nemus; hinc fida silentia sacris, 
et iuncti currum dominae subiere leones. 

Virg. .^n. Ill, 111-13. 

Hence came the Mother that dwelleth on Cybele and the brazen cym- 
bals of Corybantes and Ida's grove, hence the rites wrapt in faithful silence, 
and hence the yoked lions drew the chariot of their mistress. 

Rhea in Crete and Cybele in Asia Minor are names for 
the great mother of the gods (magna mater Idaea) who 
seems to represent mother earth. The goddess of nature 
life, she was worshipped in wild mountainous regions 
with wild rites, and wild animals, ^like hons, followed in 
her train or drew her car. In connection with the worship 
of Cybele the death and rebirth of vegetable life was 
celebrated in the unrestrained rites of Attis under the 
symbol of a fir tree. 

The marble statue (Fig. 15) is probably to be identified 


with Cybele. Though throne and head and arms are 
missing, the dignified matronly figure well represents the 
conception of Cybele, mother of the gods, as refined and 
ennobled by the Athenians. The graceful terra-cotta 
figure of Cybele riding on a lion represents a totally 

I J. Cybele; colossal marble statue, about joo B.C. 



different conception; it is quite without religious mean- 
ing, and represents rather a graceful conceit suggested 
as an artistic theme by the story of Cybele. 

i6. Terra-cotta figurine from Asia Minor, late third 
century B.C. ; Cybele riding on a lion 




Sic cunctus pelagi cecidit fragor, lequora postquam 
prospicicns genitor, caeloque invectus apcrto, 
flcctit equos, curruque volans dat lora secundo. 

Virg. JEn. i, 154-56. 

So all the tumult of the sea subsides as the Sire, surveying the waters 
and borne along under an open sky, guides his steeds, and speeding on 
gives free rein to his flying chariot. 

Poseidon was the god who ruled spirits of water and 
sea as Zeus ruled the divinities of earth and sky. The 

17. Coin of Poseidonia, sixth century B.C. ; Poseidon with trident 

brother of Zeus, he resembled him in many ways so that 
the statues of the two gods cannot always be distin- 
guished. But something of the wild, unstable nature of 
the sea, its power and its treachery, are reflected in the 
character of the sea deities. 

The city of Poseidonia (Paestum) was named for Po- 
seidon, its patron god. On its coins he is represented 
advancing with his trident raised as if to be hurled as 
a weapon. The trident was originally a three-pronged 


instrument for spearing fish; as such it was the natural 
symbol of the divine rulers of the sea. 

This bronze, made in Roman times, reproduces the 

i8. Small bronze statuette of 
Poseidon ; Roman period 

Greek conception of Poseidon or Zeus as ruler among the 
gods. Perhaps the dramatic attitude and the treatment 
of face and hair may mean that it was Poseidon, for the 
benign side of the character of Zeus is not suggested. 




Dixit, cumquc imis sub tluctibus audiit omnis 
Nereidum Phorcique chorus Panopcaque xirgo, 

Virg. ^n. V, 239-40. 

He spake, and deep l)eneath the waves the whole band of the Nereids 
and of Phorcus heard him, and the maiden Panopea. 

Of the spirits of the sea some 
were kindly to man, some hostile. 
The Nereids were sea-nymphs 
who embodied for the Greek 
mind the playfulness of the sea. 
On the gold seal ring, of which 
the design is here reproduced, a 
Nereid is seen riding on a sea- 

IQ. Gold seal ring, Athens, 
Jift h cent ury B. C . ; Ne- 
reid on a sea-horse 


At Scyllam caecis cohibet spelunca latebris 
era exertantem et navis in saxa trahentem. 
Prima hominis facies et pulchro pectore virgo 
pube tenus, postrema immani corpore pistrix 
delphinum caudas utero commissa luporum. 

Virg. .^n. Ill, 424-28. 

But a cave confines Scylla in its dark lurking-places, thrusting out her 
mouths and dragging ships upon the rocks. Above she is of human shape, 
a fair-bosomed maiden to the waist; below, a huge sea-monster, with a 
dolphin's tail set in the belly of a wolf. 

Another side of the nature of the sea, its treachery and 
cruelty, was represented by Scylla, that monster with six 
long necks and six heads which snatched six of Odys- 


seus' companions from his ship as he guided his course 
to avoid the whirlpool of Charybdis. On the vase be- 
low the plastic figure of Scylla is attached as an orna- 
ment to the painted body. 

20. Late vase made in Italy ; Scylla 



Helios was the name both for the actual sun and for 
the god of the sun. As a god he was rarely worshipped 
except in Rhodes, where he was the patron god of the 

21. Coin of Rhodes, fourth cetttury B.C. ; head of Helios, rose 

island. The heads of Helios on coins of Rhodes shows 
the sun-god with youthful face and long locks of hair 
blown loose as by the wind in his rapid course across 
the sky. 


At Phaethon, rutilos flamma populante capillos, 
volvitur in praeceps, longoque per aera tractu 

Ovid, Metam. 11, 319-20. 

But Phaethon, his auburn hair all ablaze, is rolled headlong, and falls 
in a long course through the air. 

Phaethon is known in myth as the son of Helios, 
who persuaded his father to let him drive the sun's 
chariot. The disastrous result is told by Ovid (Meta- 



morphoses, ii, i /.)• The scene is found on a Roman vase 
mould here figured. 


i^: \mPt 

K." :'• ;.4 




X ' 

22. Arretine pottery mould; death of Phaethon 


Roseis Aurora quadrigis 
iar.i medium aetherio cursu traiecerat axem. 

Virg. .^n. VI, 535-36. 

Aurora in her rosy chariot had 
already crossed mid-heaven in her 
course through the sky. 

Eos or Aurora, goddess 
of the dawn, also rides in a 
chariot like that of the sun. 
Beautiful young hunters 
fell in love with the dawn, 
when they sought their 
prey, and one of these, 
Tithonus, became her hus- 

2 J. Roman cameo; Aurora driving 
a higa 


band. The story of their son Memnon comes in the 
legend of Troy. 


Dona fero- Cereris, latos quae sparsa per agros 
frugiferas messes, alimentaque mitia rcddant, 

Ovid, Metam. v, 655-56. 

I bring the gifts of Ceres, that, scattered over the broad fields, they 
may give back fruitful harvests and wholesome sustenance. 

Demeter also was a goddess of mother earth, wor- 
shipped in Greece rather than in Asia Minor, and con- 

24. Votive mask of terra-cotta, late fifth century B.C. ; 

bust of Demeter 


ceived specifically as the goddess of the grain which the 
earth bears. Since the earth receives bodies of the dead 
in burial, she was also associated with the souls of the 
dead, in that through her peculiar worship (the Mysteries) 
men might find assurance of a blessed life after death. 

The terra-cotta here represented is described as a mask 
because it is a thin sheet of clay fashioned to give orily 

2§. Coin of Delphi, fourth century B.C. ; Demcter veiled 
and with wreath of grain, Apollo seated on omphalus 

the front of the figure, and as a votive mask because it 
was no doubt a votive offering which some worshipper 
set up in a temple of Demeter. The position of the hands 
and the high crown were associated in early times with 
this mother goddess. The work is striking for the vivid 
coloring which remains on eyes and lips. 

Persephone, as daughter of Demeter and wife of Hades, 
king of the dead, constituted the link between this world 
and the world of souls. She passed part of each year with 
her husband, so the story runs, and part with her mother. 
Thus the Greek thought of vegetation as dying in the 
heat of summer and reborn from the earth with the win- 
ter rains became associated with her. In the vase paint- 


'1 iiili ■liiffii'SlBiii J 

2<5. Red-figured vase; Persephone rising from the ground 

ing here shown the satyrs are demons of nature dancing 
to bring back vegetation to Hfe, and Persephone as god- 
dess of vegetable hfe is rising from the ground in response 
to their worship. 

A cast of the large Eleusinian relief in the court gives a 
fine conception of Demeter handing a sheaf of grain to the 
boy Triptolemus. while Persephone places a wreath on his 


Though the grain was Demeter's gift, the god of plant 
life in general was Dionysus. And as the spirit of life 
which caused all vegetation to grow seemed to be present 
in wine in a form for men to taste and feel its power, the 
vine was the special gift and symbol of Dionysus. The 



27. Coin of Naxos in Sicily, fifth century B.C. ; head of Dionysus, 

Satyr drinking 

Naxians paid special honor to the giver of their good 

wine, and as their guardian deity his head was stamped 

on their coins. 

A cast of the youthful Dionysus wearing a fawn skin is to 
be found in the large Cast Court. 

28. Bronze statuette, sixth cen- 
tury B.C.; Hermes with ram 


In Greek thought Hermes 
was the god of clever cunning 
who was the patron of trade 
and the discoverer of the lyre, 
and at the same time the god of 
travellers both in this world and 
also in man's last journey to the 
world below. In early times he 
was conceived as a man in the 
prime of life, but from the fifth 
century on he took the form of 
a youth and his statues were 
set up in gymnasiums to repre- 
sent the ideal of youngmanhood. 


The archaic small bronze figured above, a votive offer- 
ing to Hermes, protector of the flocks, illustrates the 
earlier conception of the god. He wears a close-fitting 
chiton, a round hat, and high boots; in his right hand he 
once held a stall, and he carries a young ram under his 

2g. Groeco-Roman marble; Hermes (type of fourth century B.C.) 

JO. Intaglio gem, Hellen- 
istic period; Hermes 
with lyre 


arm. It is in striking contrast with the marble (Fig. 29), 

which repre- 
sents him as 
a youth and 
in an attitude 
of melancholy 
revery. Possi- 
bly the artist 
had in mind 
his function 
as conductor 
of souls to the 
world below; 

more probably he thought of Her- 
mes as the ideal representative of 

youth, and in an age when young 

men were given to thought and 

pleasure rather than to action. The 

spirit of the age is shown in a 

statue of this type, 

A charming representation of 

Hermes with the lyre which he 

invented is seen on a gem. The 

common attribute of Hermes was 

his wand (kerykeion, caduceus). 

ji. Bronze and iron 

The Hermes with the infant Dionysus by Praxiteles is 
represented by a cast in the court. 

JTv J 





32. Bronze mirror handle, about 500 B.C. ; Aphrodite and Erotcs 




Dixit, et avertens rosea cervice refulsit, 
ambrosiaeque comae divinum vertice odorem 
spiravere; pedes vestis defluxit ad imos, 
et vera incessu patuit dea. 

Virg. JEn. i, 402-05. 

She spake, and as she turned away she burst forth in splendor with 
rosy neck and her ambrosial hair breathed forth the fragrance of the gods, 
her robe flowed down to her very feet, and she was revealed a true god- 
dess by her gait. 

Aphrodite was the goddess of love, the goddess of hu- 
man love worshipped by beautiful women, and at the 
same time the goddess that presided over the reproduc- 
tion of animal life and of germinating vegetation. The 
story that she was born from the sea suggests that her 
worship came over the sea from an Oriental source. She 
was attended by Eros (Love) or a group of Erotes, who 

carried now a lyre for love 
music, now a bow and arrow to 
pierce the heart of the victim. 
The archaic bronze mirror 
handle shown on page 39 rep- 
resents the goddess clad in 
the rich, clinging garments of 
Ionic art. Two flying Cupids 
on her shoulder serve to sup- 
port the yoke which held a cir- 
cular mirror of polished bronze , 
while their glances focus atten- 
„,,.,,,, . ,, tionon the face of the goddess. 

jj. Flastic lekythos, joiirtn cen- 

tury B.C. ; birth of A phrodite The birth of Aphrodite from 



34. Marble head of Aphrodite, fourth century B.C. 

the sea was symbolized in art by representing her as 
emerging from the open valves of a sea-shell. This vase 
is almost hidden by the plastic ornament attached to 
it. The newborn goddess is rising from the shell, while 
hovering Cupids who hold the garment behind her give 
an upward movement to the whole group. 



The fine oval shape of the face, the deHcate modelHng, 
and the expressive features show that the beautiful head 
(Fig. 34) is the work of an Attic master of the school of 
Praxiteles. The nature of the goddess of love is empha- 
sized by the pose of the head, the relaxed mouth, and the 
half-open eyes. This head is one of the finest examples 
of ancient sculpture in existence. The translucent crys- 
talline quality of the marble adds much to its beauty. 

35. Terra-cotta figurines from Myrina, second century B.C.; 

Erotes or Cupids 

The figurine at the left represents the infant god in the 
lion's skin of Heracles, a whimsical fancy characteristic 
of the Hellenistic age. The spirited example at the right 
shows another small Eros in the act of drawing a sword. 

The allegory of Cupid and Psyche, of love and the 
human soul under the power of love, found great favor in 
later antiquity. In this scene Cupids, playing as grown- 



up people, are engaged at a wedding. A sturdy torch- 
bearer leads Cupid and Psyche by a lillet; both the Cupid 
bridegroom, who carries 
a dove of Venus, and 
Psyche his bride wear 
the marriage veil. At 
the left a Cupid holds 
a basket of fruits over 
their heads and at the 
right another Cupid 
stands by the marriage 

Such cameos, or rep- 
resentations in relief en- 
graved in precious stones, were much prized by the Ro- 
mans. This celebrated example is carved in sardonyx with 
a coffee-brown layer for the figures over a black layer 
for the background. It is signed by the artist Tryphon. 

A cast of the Aphrodite from Melos stands in the lecture- 
hall lobby, and in the large court is a cast of the Praxitelean 
Aphrodite in the Vatican. 

j6. GrcBco-Roman cameo; wedding of 
Cupid and Psyche 


Ares was an impetuous god of war, quite unlike Athena 

the goddess of bravery and generalship in war. The 

Roman Mars was a much more important deity than the 

Greek Ares, being only second to Jupiter himself. 

Casts of the Ares Borghese in the Louvre and of the Ares 
Ludovisi in the Terme Museum in Rome are to be found in 
the large court. 




Hephaestus, himself the lame smith among the gods, 
was the god of fire and of human smiths. He was the son 
of Zeus and Hera. Such was his cunning that, the poets 
said, he could construct bronze figures which were able 
to walk. Perhaps because of the charm of his work he 
received Aglaia one of the Graces for his wife. On a vase 
painting (p. 71) he is depicted making new armor for 


Of the Roman gods not 
identified with Greek gods 
the most important was Ja- 
nus, the doorkeeper or ''jani- 
tor." As the god of begin- 
nings he was worshipped 
each morning, at the opening 
of a new year, and before any 
important undertaking such 
as the harvest or a marriage 
or a war. His head in a me- 
dallion on the lamp figured 
below is double-faced, for 
the anniversary looks both 
backward and forward, and 
crowned with laurel to sug- 
gest the good wishes that go 

37. Roman terra-cotta lamp; <_> «j o 

head of Janus With a New Year's gift. 



The story of lo is illustrated on the red-figured vase 
figured below. lo, beloved of Zeus, was changed into a 
heifer by the jealous Hera and driven hither and yon by 
Argus who never closed all his eyes at once in sleep, till 
the latter was slain by Hermes at the behest of Zeus. In 

38. Red-figured vase painting, from a hydria; Hermes about to slay Argus 

the vase painting the many-eyed Argus turns back from 
the running heifer (lo) to defend himself from the sword 
of Hermes ; before the heifer is a priestess with the temple 
key; the column and altar of Hera's temple are seen, and 
at each end of the scene a spectator raises his hands in 
horror or surprise. 

Nor when (I loved) Danae of the fair ankles, daughter of Acrisius, who 
bore Perseus most renowned of all men. 

Iliad, XIV, 319-20. 



Danae, a descendant of lo, also attracted the love of 
Zeus. She had been shut up in an underground chamber 
of brass because her father Acrisius had been told by the 

jp. Red-figured hydria, early fifth century B.C. ; carpenter 
preparing the chest for Dana'e and Perseus 


oracle that he would die at the hands of her son, but 
no underground chamber could keep out the shower of 
golden sunlight sent by Zeus. And when a son was born 
to her, Acrisius shut mother and son in a chest and 

r'rrr^'ry.rrr.-rg?^" -^^^g^^^^^:ga'^^^^^^ A': vhai i m X ir fTrv^Tf^. xfe".: •■■•^7?>^}^'''b^"-— t-"", -->-'"^-— - 










40. iJ/ac^ Clip with stamped figures, fourth century B.C. ; Perseus 

and Medusa 

launched it on the sea to bear them to destruction. In 
the vase painting a carpenter is finishing the chest under 
the direction of Acrisius; at the right is Danae and the 
infant Perseus; and before her stands a woman, prob- 
ably Danae's mother, raising her hand as if in protest. 
Saved from the sea and adopted by Polydectes, 



Perseus was sent by his rescuer to get the head of the 
Gorgon Medusa. With the aid of Athena and Hermes 
he accompHshed his task, and by exposing the Gorgon's 
head he turned to stone the man who had sought to de- 
stroy him by sending him on such an errand. On a black 

41. Bronze handle, sixth century, B.C. ; head oj Medusa 



cup with impressed ligures Perseus is depicted on one 
side, setting out with Athena and Hermes; on the other 
side, Pegasus rises from the neck of the fallen Medusa 
and the other Gorgons are hurrying in pursuit of Perseus. 
The head of Medusa, with snake-like locks and tongue 
protruding from her open mouth, is the decoration used 
for the bottom of the handle of a bronze vessel. 

Ora Medusae 
Gorgonis anguineis cincta fuisse cornis. 

Ovid, Trist. iv, vii, ii. 

The face of the, Gorgon Medusa was encircled with snaky locks. 


Bellerophon, driven from the throne of Corinth by the 
King of Tiryns, was sent to Lycia (Iliad, vi, 155/.) and 
there tasks were assigned him which might lead to his 
death. The first of these tasks was to slay the dread 
Chimaera ''in front a lion, and behind a serpent, and in 

42. Proto-Corinthian vase, seventh century B.C. ; Bellerophon attacking 

the Chimccra 



the midst a goat, and she breathed dread fierceness of 
blazing fire." This he accompUshed by the aid of Pega- 
sus, the winged horse born from the neck of the dying 
Medusa. The scene is depicted in miniature on a very 
small vase, Bellerophon on Pegasus attacking the Chi- 


According to the myths of Crete, Europa, a princess 
descended from lo and living in Phoenicia, attracted the 


4 J. Black-figured amphora, sixth century B.C. ; Europa on the bull 


love of Zeus. Zeus assumed the form of a bull, persuaded 
her to mount his back, and bore her away over the sea to 
Crete where he wedded her. In the vase painting Europa 
is seen riding on the divine bull. 

Minos, one of the sons of Europa and Zeus, married 
Pasiphae, daughter of Helios. In answer to his prayer 
Poseidon sent him a white bull for sacrifice ; the bull was 

44. Coin of Cnossos in Crete, fourth century B.C. ; head of Hera, 


SO beautiful, however, that Minos kept it alive; and to 
punish him for his cupidity Poseidon caused the 
Minotaur, a monster with body of a man and head of 
a bull, to ravage the land. A labyrinth "with more 
windings than the river Maeander" was constructed to 
confine this creature, and its prey was tribute brought 
from the wide domains of Minos, eventually a tribute of 
seven youths and seven maidens from Athens. The 
labyrinth is represented on the coins of Cnossos in Crete. 
The bull sent by Poseidon appears in the story of 
Heracles, and the Minotaur in the story of Theseus. 


When Zeus carried off Europa, he caused her brother 
Cadmus to be sent in search of her and eventually to 
found the city of Thebes. One of his grandsons was the 
noble youth Actaeon, favorite of Artemis and her com- 

45. Red-figured krater, about 450 B.C. ; death of ActcBon 

panionin the chase. Reoffended the goddess, however, — 
according to one story, because he beheld her bathing in 
a secluded pool, — so that she transformed him into a stag 
and he was devoured by his own hounds. The vase paint- 
ing in this instance represents Artemis as drawing her bow 
to shoot Actaeon as he falls under the savage attack of 
his dogs. 




And I saw the mother of (Edipus, fair Epicaste, who wrought a dread 
deed unwittingly, being wedded to her own son, and he that had slain his 
own father wedded her. 

Odyssey, xi, 271-73. 

Theban legend centres about the story of (Edipus. 
Exposed to die as a babe, rescued and brought up in 

46. Red-figured amphora; (Edipus atid the Sphinx 

Corinth, he fled that city to avoid the oracle which 
said he should kill his father and marry his mother, 
an oracle which he actually fulfilled at Thebes. The 
vase painting represents him before the Sphinx whose 
riddle he solved and thus rid Thebes of the monster. 




Sanguine et igne micant oculi, riget ardua cervix; 
et setae densis similes hastilibus horrent; 
fervida cum rauco latos stridore per armos 
spuma fluit; dentes aequantur dentibus Indis; 
fulmen ab ore venit; frondes adflatibus ardent. 

Ovid, Metam. viii, 284-89. 

With blood and fire his eyes gleam, his rough neck is stiff; the bristles 
too, like close-set spears stand erect; with a hoarse noise bubbling foam 
streams down his broad shoulders; his tusks rival the tusks of India; 
lightning issues from his mouth; the foliage is burned up with the 

Q^neus, King of Calydon, in /Etolia offended Artemis 
by failing to include her with the other gods in his sacri- 

47. Bronze mirror case, Greek, fourth century B.C. ; 
Calydon ian boar hunt 


fices; angry at such neglect she sent a mighty boar to 
devastate the crops. The hunt for this boar was cele- 
brated for the heroes who took part in it — Theseus, 
Jason, Peleus, father of Achilles, etc. — and for the story 
of Meleager and Atalanta which was associated with it. 
Meleager, son of Qineus, killed the boar, but because of 
his love for Atalanta he adjudged the prize to her on the 
ground that she had first wounded it. This act led to the 
quarrels with his cousins on his mother's side, and to his 
death when his mother burned the fateful brand on 
which his life depended. The boar on an early Rhodian 
plate was possibly painted with this story in mind. On 
the mirror case (Fig. 47) are seen figures in high re- 
lief, two youths with flying garments and spears raised 
to strike the boar which raises its head to attack the 
youth in front. 


Tu nubigenas, Invicte, bimembris 
Hylceumque Pholumque, manu, tu Cresia mactas 
prodigia et vastum Nemeae sub rupe leonem. 
te Stygii tremuere lacus, te ianitor Orci 
ossa super recubans antro semesa cruento; 
nee te ullae facies, non terruit ipse T>T3hoeus, 
arduus arma tenens; non te rationis egentem 
Lernaeus turba capitum circumstetit anguis. 

\'irg. /En. viii, 293-300. 

'T was thou, invincible, whose hand laid low 
The cloud-born Centaurs, Pholus and H3daeus, 
The Cretan monsters, and the lion huge 
That underneath the cliffs of Nemea lay ! 
Before thee shrank the Styx; the janitor 
Of hell cowered in his gory cave, and left 


His feast of bones half gnawed! No goblin shape, 
Not vast Typhoeus' self with levelled sword 
Made thee afraid, undaunted still though snapped 
At thee the Lerna hydra's hundred heads! 

(Long's translation.) 

The deeds of Heracles were a familiar theme for story 
and for art. The favorite son of Zeus, he was persecuted 
by the jealous Hera who made him subject to the cow- 
ardly Eurystheus, king of Tiryns, but in the labors as- 

48. Coin of Byzantium, fourth century B.C. ; infant Heracles 
strangling serpents, bull on dolphin 

signed him by Eurystheus he had the constant aid of 
Athena. As a babe he strangled with his own hands 
the serpents sent by Hera to destroy him in his cradle. 
Of his labors for Eurystheus the first was to destroy a 
lion sent by Hera to ravage the mountains near Nemea. 
Its skin, so tough that it could be cut only by its own 
claws, was impenetrable by his arrows, but by the aid 
of Athena he first stunned the creature with his club 
and then strangled it. The skin he later wore to pro- 
tect him in his labors. In his hunt for the Erymanthian 
boar he became involved in a battle with the centaurs, 
a scene represented on the frieze of -a temple at Assos. 


49. Black-figured amphora; Heracles strangling the Neniean lion, lolaus, 

and Athena 




50. Section of frieze from the temple at Assos, sixth century B.C. ; Heracles 
shooting an arrow at the flying Centaurs 





— ^ 


































* •» 










Another labor often represented by the vase painter 
was his capture of the Cretan bull. This bull, the father 
of the Minotaur, he subdued and forced it to carry him 
on its back across the sea from Crete to Tiryns. 

S3. Small archaic Greek bronze; Heracles 
shooting an arrow 

Later Heracles was sent to Thrace to bring back the 
girdle of Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons. The girdle 
he got for love, but before he escaped he was attacked 
by the fierce women warriors and shot Hippolyte whom 
he suspected of treachery. 

Cerberus haec ingens latratu regna trifauci 
personal, adverse recubans immanis in antro. 
cui vates, horrere videns iam colla colubris, 
melle soporatam et medicatis frugibus offam 
obicit. lUe fame rabida tria guttura pandens 


corripit obiectam atque immania terga resolvit 
fusus humi totoque ingens extenditur antro. 

Virg. JEn. vi, 417-23. 

Here howls huge Cerberus, three throats at once, 
And makes aU. ring again, at full length stretched 
Within a cave that guards the way. To whom, 
Soon as she sees the snakes about his neck 
Begin to squirm, the Sibyl throws a loaf 
With honey and with drowsy tinctures soaked. 

The hardest task of all was to bring up from the lower 
world the three-headed dog Cerberus that guarded the 

54. Red-figured plate; youthful Heracles dragging 
Cerberus, attended by Hermes 

gates of the dead, but this, too, he accomplished by the 
aid of Athena and Hermes. One labor not mentioned in 
literature was a favorite with vase painters, the contest 

^ ^ 


^ ? =. 







of Heracles with that sea-monster the Triton; in this ex- 
ample Heracles, kneeling over the creature's fish-like tail, 
struggles to master its human arms. 

5J. Terra-cotta figure, southern Italy, second cen- 
tury B.C.; Heracles reclining on his lion skin 

Heracles resting from his labors, his big muscles weary 
with the tasks a hard lot had assigned him, was a common 
theme for later sculpture. The terra-cotta figure shown 
above is probably a copy of some large statue in bronze 
or marble; a bronze statue of Heracles of late Greek 
workmanship may be seen in the balcony of the classical 


Theseus was the counterpart of Heracles whom the 
Athenians specially honored. His first achievement after 
being recognized as the son of i^geus. King of Athens, 
was to free the Athenians from their tribute of seven 
youths and seven maidens to feed the Minotaur in Crete. 
The Minotaur he slew by the aid of Ariadne, daughter of 



Minos, whom he carried off as his bride; but, like Hera- 
cles fickle in his affections, he deserted her on the island 

58. Scene on the shoulder of a hlack-fignred hydria ; Theseus slaying 

the Minotaur 

of Naxos halfway back to Athens. In the vase painting 
below, the winged Sleep stands over Ariadne, Athena is 

58a. Red-figured vase painting, late fifth century B.C.; Theseus 

abandoning Ariadne 



seated in the background, and Theseus is hastening 
toward the prow of his vessel. 

As Heracles fought with the Centaurs, so Theseus with 
his friend Peirithous led the defense of the Lapith women 

5p. Red-figured kylix signed by Aristophanes, late 
fifth century B.C.; Theseus defending a Lapith 
woman attacked by a Centaur 

when the Thessalian Centaurs became drunk and at- 
tacked them. This myth furnished the theme for the 
metopes of the Parthenon, as well as for the vase painter. 

Ducit Amazonidum lunatis agmina peltis 
Penthesilea furens mediisque in milibus ardet, 
aurea subnectens exertae cingula mammge, 
bellatrix, audetque viris concurrere virgo. 

Virg. ^n. I, 490-93- 



Fiery Penthesilcia leads on her ranks 
Of Amazons, armed with their crescent shields; 
She mid the host burns eager for the fray, 
A golden zone bound 'neath her swelling breast, 
Warrior and maid, she dares to cope with men. 

(Long's translation.) 

The attack on Athens by the Amazons was referred to 
the time when Theseus was king 
of Athens. The Athenians were 
driven up to the hill of Ares, the 
Areopagus, but finally they won 
by the aid of the Amazon Queen 
Antiope (or Penthesileia) who fell 
in love with Theseus. In the vase 
painting here shown Theseus is 
fighting with Hippolyte; that is, 
if the vase painter gave the names 

60. Red-figured lekythos, about 450 B.C.; Theseus and two companions 
in conflict with Hippolyte on horseback and a second A mazon on foot 


he intended to give, the painting represents T| is as 
the companion of Heracles in the latter 's eif ^editit "^ 
against the Amazons. vT*"^ 

6i. Fragment of marble sculpture, early fourth century B.C.; 

Amazon on horseback 


Scenes from the story of the Trojan War, actual illus- 
trations to the Iliad or Odyssey, or again scenes from 
episodes not treated in these poems, often furnished the 
theme for the Greek artist. 

The abduction of Helen, which was the occasion of the 
war, is represented on one side of a splendid vase signed 
by the potter Hieron and the painter Macron. Paris 



62. Scene frotn red-figured howl (skyphos), about 460 B.C. ; 

abduction of Helen 

preceded by ^neas leads away Helen, while Aphrodite 
throws over her head a bridal veil, Eros flies before her, 
and Peitho, goddess of Persuasion, attends Aphrodite. 

And now might Aineias, king of men, have perished, but that Aphro- 
dite, daughter of Zeus, was swift to mark. . . . About her dear son wound 
she her white arms, and spread before his face a fold of her radiant ves- 
ture, to be a covering from the darts, lest any of the fleet-horsed Danaans 
might hurl the spear into his breast and take away his life. 

Iliad, V, 311/. 

6j. Red-figured krater, about 450 B.C.; Mneas and Diomedes 


The duel of ^neas and Diomedes (Iliad, v, 297 /.) is 
literally represented on an Attic vase. At the left Athena 
stands encouraging Diomedes in his attack on i^neas, 
while at the right i^neas, wounded by the spear, falls 
into the arms of his mother Aphrodite. 

Stetimus tela aspera contra 
contulimusque manus: experto credite, quantus 
in clipeum adsurgat, quo turbine torqueat hastam. 

Virg. ^n. XI, 282-84. 

I have stood against the fury of his weapon, and joined hand to hand 
with him in battle; trust one who knows how strong is his onset as he 
rises against the shield, how fierce the whirlwind of his hurtling lance. 

On a number of early vases is found the representation 
of Achilles and Ajax playing dice or checkers in the pres- 
ence of Athena. They are seated bending over a low 
block, their shields and helmets laid aside on the ground 
but the spears still in their hands. On the vase here 
shown Achilles says, "I put down four," and Ajax, ''I 
put down all," according to the inscriptions written be- 
fore their faces. 

And Thersites still chattered on, the uncontrolled of speech. . . . And 
he was ill-favored beyond all men that came to Ilios. Bandy-legged was 
he, and lame of one foot, and his two shoulders rounded, arched down 
upon his chest; and over them his head was warped, and a scanty stubble 
sprouted on it. 

Iliad, II, 212, 216-19. 

On one of the large decorative vases from southern 
Italy the visit of the aged Phoenix to Achilles, who had 
withdrawn to his tent in anger (Iliad, ix, 430/.), is de- 
picted in the centre; gods and heroes of the Trojan War 



64. Black- figured lekythos; Achilles, Athena \^f-p.— a. "^C^ 
atid Ajax 



65. Apulian red-figured amphora, fourth century B.C.; 
visit of Phoenix to Achilles 

are shown on either side, and below Hes Thersites, his 
head severed from his body. 


But thou take from Ilephaistos arms of pride, arms passing goodly 
such as no man on his shoulders yet hath borne. Thus spake the goddess, 
and in front of Achilles laid the arms. 

Iliad, XIX, 10-13. 

An earlier vase from Athens gives the making of new 
armor for Achilles (Iliad, xviii). At the left stands Thetis 

66. Rcd-figured amphora, about 450 B.C. ; HephcEstus and Thetis 

directing the work, and before her Hephaestus bends over 
the shield he is making ; above hang the helmet and 
greaves, and also some of Hephaestus' tools — tongs, 
hammer, and bow-drill. 



Thereby they ran, he flying, he pursuing. Valiant was the flier, but far 
mightier he who fleetly pursued him. ... So thrice around Priam's city 
circled those twain with flying feet; and all the gods were gazing on them. 
Iliad, XXII, 157-58, 165-66. (Cf. Virg. lEn. 11, 270/.) 

A much mutilated vase once showed in picturesque 
manner the pursuit of Hector by Achilles before the walls 

67. Red-figured kylix, about 4^0 B.C.; Hector and Achilles before Troy 

of Troy. Hector turns to hurl his spear at his pursuer; 
the gates of Troy are each guarded by an archer shown 
in black on red; behind the battlements are seen the la- 
menting Hecuba and Priam; and apart stands Athena 
directing Achilles to victory. 



Arripit ensem, 
et, Meus hie certe est. An et hunc sibi poscet Ulixes? 
Hoc, ait, utendum est in me mihi, quique ruore 
saepe Phrygum maduit, domini nunc caede madebit; 
ne quisquam Aiacem possit superare, nisi Ajax. 
Dixit; et in pectus, turn demum vulnera passum, 
qua patuit ferro, letalem condidit ensem. 

Ovid, Metam. xiii, 386-92. 

He seizes his sword and he says, " This, at least, is my own. Or will 
Ulysses claim this too for himself? This must I use against myself; and 

68. Etruscan bronze mirror, third century B.C.; suicide of Ajax 


the blade which has often been wet with the blood of the Phrygians will 
now be wet with the slaughter of its owner, that no one but Ajax himself 
may be enabled to conquer Ajax." Thus he said, and he plunged the fatal 
sword into his breast, then for the first time suffering a wound where it 
lay exposed to the steel. 

The story of the suicide of the proud Ajax (Odyssey, xi, 
543) is the theme drawn in incised Hnes on the back of an 
Etruscan mirror. Apparently the fallen Ajax is drawing 
the sword from his side with his left hand in the presence 
of Athena, who, as Sophocles tells the story, had pro- 
tected the Greek leaders from the mad attack of Ajax. 

Hoc dicens altaria ad ipsa trementem 
traxit et in multo lapsantem sanguine nati, 
implicuitque coma laevam, dextraque coruscum 
extulit ac lateri capulo tenus abdidit ensem. 

Virg. .En. 11, 550-53. 

With these words he dragged him to the very altar, palsied and slipping 
in a pool of his son's blood, twined his left hand in his hair, and with 
his right flashed forth the sword and sheathed it to the hilt in his side. 

The fall of Troy is not described in our Iliad and Odys- 
sey, but was the theme of later Greek epics now lost and 
of the second book of the ^Eneid. On the small marble 
relief here shown, Hecuba kneels on an altar beside Priam 
who is being dragged to his death by the wrathful Neop- 
tolemus son of Achilles. 

The meeting of Menelaus wdth Helen after the fall 
of Troy is depicted on the opposite side of the bowl 
on which was the scene of her abduction by Paris (see 
p. 67). As Helen looks proudly back at him, Menelaus 
checks the hand which was drawing his sword to kill her ; 
and behind Helen are the protecting goddess Aphrodite 
and two persons named Kriseis and Krises. 

6g. Marble relief, late Greek work; death of Priam 

yo. Scene from red-figured howl, about 460 B.C.; Menelaus recovers 




"But, queen, have pity on me, for after many trials and sore, to thee 
first of all am I come, and of the other folk who hold this city and land I 
know no man. Nay, show me the town; give me an old garment to cast 
about me." . . . Then Nausicaa of the white arms answered him, 
"Now since thou hast come to our city and our land, thou shalt not lack 
raiment nor aught else." 

Odyssey, vi, 175/. 

The story of Nausicaa (Odyssey, vi) was used to 
decorate the top of a maiden's toilet box. Odysseus is 

77. Red-figiired toilet box {cover), second half fifth century B.C.; Odysseus 

meeting Nausicaa 





crouching before a tree, and Athena points him past a 
fleeing attendant to Nausicaa who raises her hand in 
wonder; behind Odysseus is another fleeing maid and a 
maid who is folding up the garments they had been wash- 

Quos hominum ex facie dea sgeva potentibus herbis 
induerat Circe in voltus ac terga ferarum. 

Virg. iEn. vii, 19-20. 

. . . which Circe, fell goddess, had transformed by her magic drugs 
from the fashion of men to the visage and figure of beasts. 

The monster Scylla has already been illustrated (on 
p. 30), and on an early oil vase may be found a very crude 
picture of Odysseus and the Sirens. His encounter with 
Circe is the theme of a damaged kylix, which shows an 
interesting variation from the narrative of the Odys- 
sey (x, 319/.). In the centre Circe holds out her magic 
potion, and on either side are Odysseus' companions 
changing into various animals, a dog, a leopard, an ass, a 
lion, and a horse; in the background stands Odysseus 
drawing his sword to overcome Circe. 

7 J. Marble head of Homer 





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